The Art of Nonverbal Cues, 07.18.2014

Performing well on stage, behind a podium or in the boardroom demands some degree eloquence and composure. While we may be preoccupied with talking points, we need to remember to also convey strength and confidence with nonverbal communication. Stage fright can creep up at any given moment, so don’t fidget, play with your hair or avoid locking eyes with anyone in the audience. If you know how to remain calm, the audience won’t pick up on any of your doubts.

According to a well-cited statistic from Albert Mehrabian, 93 percent of what we communicate to others is nonverbal. When you’re presenting, the audience takes notice of your body movements, posture and para-language. We tend to focus so much of our attention on what we’re saying, it can be easy to forget what we’re conveying without words.

A few things to think about the next time you’re rehearsing for a big speech: read more »

Multiple Heads Are Better Than One, 06.24.2014

Whenever conflict arises within a team or in the workplace, many of us are quick to think, “What is wrong with this person?” or, “Why is he/she reacting like this?” Of course, there are two sides to every story, and then there’s the “truth.”  Communications is about the message that is being delivered (verbally, in writing and through nonverbal cues), but equally as important, is the message that is being received, and there is plenty of room for perceptions to skew original intentions. Consequently, the “truth” of a message often depends on the personality of the individual receiving it.

To help communicators understand the filters we apply to ours and others’ messages, we turn to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Test (MBTI). Developed by the mother-daughter duo Katharine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers, the MTBI is based on Carl Jung’s typological theories and has become a popular tool in business as a means of identifying people’s personality preferences.  The test evaluates preferences based on four pairs of dichotomies:

MBTI chart

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Welcome Back, Gemrick!, 06.23.2014

As summer steamrolls forward into its muggy peak, we here at 20K are grateful for a breath of fresh air in the form of Gemrick Curtom, research assistant extraordinaire. Last year, Gemrick wowed us with his passion for PR and witty social media puns, but perhaps even more importantly, he always brings a huge smile and killer style into the office. We couldn’t pass up the opportunity to work with him again, and we’re thrilled to have him back on the 20K team this summer. He’ll be sleuthing on the web to research clients and issues and searching out the best of the best social media content, in addition to blogging and helping us with a very special project (to be announced later this summer!).

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Everything’s Bigger In Texas, 04.03.2014

Rumor has it that the word “BIG” was invented in Texas, specifically Houston. Don’t quote us on that — we’re just saying that it makes sense, considering the enormity of the Houston Greek Festival and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. With the end of the rodeo, however, the Southwest Freeway has finally been restored to its normal, moderately congested state, and we’re already preparing for our next big bash: 47th Annual WorldFest.

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Stressed at work? Free your mind, and the rest will follow., 03.13.2014

When you’re living on an island of saturated inboxes and endless to-do lists, slipping into the chronic madness of office life can happen all too quickly. However, let us remind you that rest is important. And we’re not talking about a cozy hammock and your fluffiest pillow — we’re talking about the spiritual and emotional rest one achieves through mindfulness. All the sleep-in Saturdays between now and the end of time could never fully rejuvenate you from the long weeknights and constant decision-making required by a demanding job.

According to the National Institute of Health at the University of Massachusetts, exercising mindfulness in the workplace helps improve brain activity and concentration amongst employees. It enhances our ability to envision options and open ourselves to new perspectives, which makes us better collaborators.

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Doing Good: The Women’s Resource of Greater Houston Talks Good Cents, 02.27.2014

We hope y’all will pardon the terrible pun in this post’s title, but we felt strongly about it. For this month’s nonprofit feature, we let the daughter of an accountant take the reigns. In keeping with that background, she picked a nonprofit that focuses on an issue that is oft-overlooked – financial literacy.

The Greater Houston Women’s Foundation was established in 1990 by a group of professional women who were concerned that less than five percent of philanthropic dollars were dedicated to women and girls’ causes. The founders did not want Houston to follow this national trend, so they gathered like-minded women who contributed to build the foundation. They had three goals: To help women become economically self sufficient; encourage prevention and early intervention of problems affecting women and girls; and support programs that develop and improve life skills. In 2002, the organization’s name was changed to The Women’s Resource of Greater Houston. read more »

For the Love of Learning: Our Favorite Industry Books, 02.14.2014

Our relationship to plenty of things can seem fickle. There’s always a hot new social network, restaurant or other distraction to occupy our time. The world of industry books operates in much the same way. Each year, there’s a new “must have” book offering the streamline your life and revolutionize your career. In that overwhelming and ever-changing chaos, there are some industry books that we think have stood the test of time.

Happiness is a good book.

Happiness is a good book.

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Is Anybody Out There?, 02.06.2014

The digital world can be a bit overwhelming. For marketers, the internet provides the opportunity to interact with their present and potential consumers at any time, with the hope of cultivating brand loyalty (and, hopefully, boosting the bottom line). On the other hand, consumers are constantly confronted with a barrage of information. (Facebook alone produces 2.5 billion pieces of content EACH DAY.) Breaking through the noise and establishing your brand as a voice worth listening to requires an approach that centers on relevancy, thoughtfulness and realness.

The Internet as a map. Whoa.

The Internet as a map. Whoa.

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Ciara Rouege: Drawing My Life, 01.30.2014

Our newest 20K intern, Ciara Rouege, shares her story through one of her passions – videography. Help us welcome her to the team in the comments!

Bigger Isn’t Always Better, 01.23.2014

Your cable is out – again. After being on hold for what seems like hours, you explain to the customer service representative on the other line that, yes, you’ve tried resetting the box, and, no, it didn’t work. The next day, you wait around your apartment for hours, and the technician STILL doesn’t make it during your appointment window, citing a flat tire. However, the next day, the CEO of the cable company calls you to personally apologize for your long wait time: “But, I can vouch for Joe – he really did have a flat tire.”

Obviously, the CEO of a large cable corporation probably doesn’t have the time to make personalized follow-up calls. But wouldn’t it be swell if he did?

There are great things about working for a bigger company. But today, we’re taking a moment to reflect on what we love about working for a small one.

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